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Why be tested for the AIDS antibody?


For anyone with some risk, it is important to know one's AIDS-antibody status. Because if you should happen to be AIDS-antibody positive, these 21 precautions might save your life or the life of someone you love:

For those who already have AIDS, ADC (AIDS Dementia Complex), or ARC (AIDS Related Complex), following these procedures may lengthen the lifespan considerably.

1 If you are AIDS-antibody positive, pregnancy may weaken your immune system and bring on AIDS, AIDS Related Complex, or AIDS Dementia Complex. The baby has a 30 to 50 percent chance of having AIDS. In an infected mother, breast milk contains the AIDS virus. Avoid breast feeding.

2 Avoid live vaccines, such as those for measles, mumps, and rubella.

3 Get a doctor's recommendation about pneumonia and flu vaccinations, which are often recommended. They use killed-virus vaccines.

4 Polio can be contracted by an AIDS-antibody-positive person from oral-poliovaccine virus excreted in the stool of a vaccinated child or adult. No oral polio (live virus) vaccine should be given in a household with an AIDS-antibody-positive person.

5 Your doctor will not use immunosuppressive drugs, such as corticosteroids, certain antibiotics, and some anticancer drugs that are dangerous for AIDS-positive persons.

6 Don't use aspirin or other painkillers without consulting your doctor. Aspirin is slightly immunosuppressive.

7 Do not use illicit drugs, including marijuana and heroin, as they are immunosuppressive.

8 Encourage your spouse, exspouse, and/or sex partner to have the AIDS antibody test.

9 Protect your sex partner by informing him or her of your condition; condoms improve safety but do not remove all risks.

10 Avoid sharing razor blades and toothbrushes. Don't have ears pierced or be tattooed.

11 Decontaminate all surfaces that have come in contact with blood by cleaning with household bleach freshly diluted to one part bleach per ten parts water.

12 Cats transmit toxoplasmosis. Birds transmit histoplasmosis and psittacosis. AIDS-antibody-positive persons should not clean cat litter or bird cages.


Notify your physician, dentist, and any other medical personnel that you have had a positive antibody test so they can do their best to care for you and to prevent the spread of the virus.


Ask your family doctor to help you select a physician who specializes in infectious diseases to do additional blood tests. Such tests will reveal the condition of your protective T cells. Infectious-disease specialists are also trained AIDS counselors. Further, professional ethics dictate that physicians maintain confidentiality.

15 Ask your doctor about the possibility of taking AZT (an experimental AIDS drug). There is some hope that AZT may be more effective if taken in the early stages of HIV infection.

16 Do not donate blood, plasma, sperm, body organs, or other tissues.

17 Avoid unpasteurized milk because there is a risk of salmonella infection, which is more serious in an immuno-suppressed person. Salmonella is spread through contaminated blood from chicken and other meat. Use acrylic cutting boards that clean in dishwashers. Cook turkeys to 180|F. at center. Cook hamburgers to 170|F. Don't eat rare meat.

18 It is especially important that AIDS-antibody-positive persons exercise regularly, maintain a proper diet, get adequate rest, and avoid stress to help maintain the immune system.

19 AIDS-antibody-positive individuals need to know that they are at a greater risk for serious consequences from what tourists jokingly refer to as "Montezuma's Revenge' or the "Aztec Two-Step.' If you must visit Third World countries, take bottled water and avoid raw foods.

20 To protect your immune system, do not use alcoholic beverages or tobacco products. They are immuno-suppressive.

21 Assiduously avoid all additional sexually transmitted infections, such as cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, syphilis, and reinfections with the AIDS virus.
COPYRIGHT 1988 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:precautions for those who test positive
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Jan 1, 1988
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